Many people overlook the value in +1.5 runs in an MLB game. The fact of the matter is that about 25% of all games are one-run games. Most casual bettors tend to look a chalky favorites and lay the -1.5, which can often bite back. They’ll do that with home teams more often than not, and remember that if a home team is ahead by one run in the ninth, they don’t get that last at bat. That’s giving away 11% of your opportunities to score. So, that’s one rule of mine I try not to break.
If you are considering the -1.5 with a big home favorite, here is a suggestion you might not have considered. Some books offer -1 which is considerably cheaper, but it limits your exposure.
If your book doesn’t offer a -1 run line, then splitting your bet in half with 50% on the ML and 50% on the RL (-1.5) equates to exactly the same thing a -1 would cost. So yes, it’s potentially less profitable in the short term, but clearly limits the risk.
Looking at it the other way around, home teams getting +1.5 are either going to win, or are at the very least assured twenty-seven outs. Even if they are down several runs late, often times the opposition won’t waste their closer, which gives teams the chance to at least make it close, and that’s all we want.
The price of the +1.5 varies from game-to-game, and it’s all correlated to the expected total of the game. In a game with a higher expected total, the +1.5 will be less expensive because proportionately it’s not as valuable. For example, today Colorado is a home underdog of +120 with a total for the game of 10.5 runs. You can take the Rockies +1.5 for only -135, which is a deal.
In a game with a much lower total, that run will cost more. Similarly, the Giants are a slight underdog on the road to the Mets, but the total is only 7 runs. Taking the Giants +1.5 is going to cost -230. However, let’s assume that there are going to be exactly 7 runs scored in that game. If you are taking the Giants RL you are getting 21% of the expected runs before the game starts. That’s huge. That’s why it’s -230.
In situations like the Giants game, often times I will make a correlated bet on the Giants RL AND the over if I can see where San Francisco can/will score three runs. In that scenario it’s impossible to lose both bets if the Giants score three runs. It’s all math, as we discussed yesterday with money lines.